Moving to Berlin: the definitive guide

Moving to Berlin: the definitive guide

The definitive guide to settling in Berlin, Germany. Everything you need to know about starting a new life in the German capital.

So it's official, you're moving to Berlin! Below are dozens of excellent guides that cover everything from finding an your first flat in Berlin to getting rid of your small change. If you are new in Germany, this page is an excellent starting point.

Find a job

It's better to find a job offer before coming to Berlin. It allows you to focus on other things once you arrive in Berlin.

If you are not a resident of the European Union, you need a visa to live, work and study in Germany. A visa is also called a residence permit (Aufenthaltstitel). There are different ways to obtain a German visa, and the requirements depend on your nationality. You can use this tool to find which visa you need.

If you need some time to look for a job, you can apply for the job seeker visa. It gives you up to 6 months to look for work in Germany.

If you want to freelance or start a business in Berlin, you need to apply for a freelance visa. In this case, it's easier to apply for the visa once you are in Berlin.

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Open a bank account 

As soon as you arrive in Berlin, you need to open a bank account. You will need one to find an apartment, as landlords expect to be paid by bank transfer.

Many banks will require a Meldebescheinigung to open a bank account. Ironically, you get this document by registering your address, and you can't get an apartment without a bank account. Fortunately, N26 lets you open an account without a Meldebescheinigung. Some other banks will do the same if you visit one of their branches and ask them.

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Find a place to live

Finding an apartment is the hardest part of relocating to Berlin. The market is extremely competitive, and finding a place can take weeks, if not months.

Having an official address in Germany is important. When you register your address, you get a tax ID (SteuerID), and a Meldebescheinigung. These are required for things like getting a cellphone contract or applying for a freelance visa.

Our guide on finding an apartment in Berlin explains everything you must know on this subject.

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Find help

If things become a little too hard to manage alone, you can call for help. We have compiled a list of useful communities and English-speaking professionals that can help you relocate to Berlin.

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Get used to life in Berlin

There are lots of little things you must get used to after settling in Berlin. No one will explain the simple things like sorting your trash and safely watching pirated movies, so we wrote guides to help you.

Daily life:

Paperwork and bureaucracy:

Where to find...

Get your German driver's licence

6 months after settling in Germany, your foreign driver's licence won't be valid anymore. Fortunately, you might be able to trade your licence for a German one. Depending on the country in which you got your licence, you might even get it without taking any driving tests!

If you don't have a driving licence, you can enroll at a driving school.

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